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tv   NBC Bay Area News Special Bay Area Proud  NBC  August 10, 2015 12:00am-12:31am PDT

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news special, "bay area proud." watching an nbc bay area the look and sound of sheer joy from this child with special needs was a long time coming. julie matsushima: i feel like amy and i have a purpose. garvin: and what she and her grandmother did will help countless other children. arthur renowitzky: eugene is--i mean, he's an amazing guy. garvin: plus, step by step, day by day, a castro valley man embarks on a unique journey to give another man the opportunity of a lifetime. eugene: there's no word to describe this feeling. garvin: two swimmers. kim chambers: i'm drawn to the unknown. garvin: one mission. simon dominguez: i think this is something that not a lot of people in the world can do. garvin: the ocean venture that could put them in the record books. deanna mitchell: he called me and said, "you won't believe this." and he didn't.
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garvin: and the unbelievable news a wife gave her husband that forever changed their family decades ago. here's nbc bay area's garvin thomas. garvin: thank you so much for joining us. if there's one thing we've learned sharing hundreds of "bay area proud" stories over the years, it's that with some of life's greatest challenges come the greatest rewards. that's certainly the case for one san jose grandmother. julie matsushima knows a lot about hard work, and she knows a lot about love. it's that combination that propelled her to make a dream of san jose's newest playground a reality. and this is no ordinary playground for julie, her granddaughter, or the thousands of kids and families it will inspire and entertain. garvin: the rotary club of san jose has met 5,025 different times in its 100-year history. the agenda, though, is always the same, service to the community. this story, though, is about how the club's grandest effort ever
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has, at its root, a very personal moment, the birth 17 years ago of julie matsushima's first grandchildren, twin girls. julie: chloe was born first. and they came out and showed us her, and she was, you know, screaming like newborns do. and then the nurse came out with amy and ran right across the hall into the neonatal unit. garvin: the doctor told julie amy had brain damage so severe, her lifespan would likely be measured in days. julie: it was just devastating. that's all i can say. we were crushed. garvin: until, that is, julie held amy for the very first time and sensed the little girl had a brighter future in mind. julie: i just felt like she wanted to live, she wanted to be part of the world and be part of life. garvin: it was a moment that would change both their lives, julie becoming amy's champion, traveling around the world with
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her, seeking out the best therapies available for her cerebral palsy, and amy opening julie's eyes to the world of disabled children, showing, for example, that even so-called accessible playgrounds weren't really. julie: if it weren't for amy, i would have no clue. because when you go to the park, you don't see children there in wheelchairs or walkers because they don't go, because there's nothing for them to do. garvin: it was an insight julie shared so many times over the years, she was sure people were sick of hearing about it. but apparently, her rotarian friends were listening. for when it came time to choose a project to celebrate the club's 100th anniversary, they chose to build northern california's most accessible playground, inspired they say by julie and amy. julie: i see amy over here very excited. hi, amy. garvin: and you can bet when that park opened,
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julie and her granddaughter were there. and if there were ever such a thing as a $6 million smile, it was the one amy wore on the park's carousel that day. julie: oh, it just brought tears to my eyes. it was just wonderful to see her just having fun and not dependent on somebody else to do it for her. julie: what did you think? amy: can i try again? julie: can you try again? garvin: but the joy julie feels at seeing her granddaughter be among the first to enjoy the park is nothing, she says, compared to the joy that comes from knowing that amy is just the first of many. julie: you know, we never know what path we're going to take in life, but i feel like amy and i have a purpose. she's taken me on a journey i would never have traveled without her being part of my life.
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garvin: spreading happiness is what a peninsula artist is also doing these days, though on a smaller, more whimsical scale. lindsay dealba says she would love to one day find a way to make art more than her hobby. now, to do that, she's going to have to sell a lot of it, which is why what she started doing strikes some people as kind of strange, but for her made perfect sense. garvin: when life gets a little too stressful, a person's lucky to have a happy place to go to, even luckier when, like lindsay dealba, that place is as close as your mom's backyard. lindsay dealba: well, i found art to be my therapy. i get in the studio and the only thing that matters is me picking out the color, the composition. and all of a sudden, i'm happy again. garvin: it's something lindsay says she found herself really needing a few years ago, about the time her competitive athletic career came to an end. after playing softball at cal, and even for the greek national
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team in the 2004 olympics, there was a void lindsay was looking to fill. lindsay: and i found this little niche that i wouldn't say it's compared to sports, but it gives you that same type of--that feeling of being able to produce something. garvin: which explains why this is where lindsay was one night 2 months ago, at peace and wondering why the world wasn't. lindsay: this is after, you know, i've been watching a lot of news and a lot of stuff going on, and it just seems like things have been really ugly lately. and i thought about it, i'm like, you know, what good is all this art sitting in my studio just for me? like, why not share it? this is perfect. garvin: it was the very next morning that lindsay headed out with 20 of her precious paintings and just dropped them up and down the peninsula. the attached note said little more than "enjoy the free art and do something nice for someone else."
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lindsay: it's such a small gesture, but if you can make one person happy, you're making some type of difference. garvin: it was supposed to be a one-time thing. then lindsay started seeing photos from people who found the art. lindsay: such a wonderful thing that you did and so fun for me to find it. garvin: and hearing what it meant to them. lindsay: we need a lot more people like you in the world. garvin: and, well, project happiness, paint the world pretty, was born. and now, not only is lindsay doing it every week close to her home, she's getting requests from all over the country for her art so people can drop it in their community. lindsay: las vegas, michigan, new jersey. garvin: lindsay says her intention was for this just to be a summer project, something to do during her break from her job as a teacher. but something has changed. lindsay's happy place no longer has just four walls to it. lindsay: all right. garvin: and it's going to take a lot more art
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to fill that space. lindsay: small gestures can make a difference. you know, and that can be anything. garvin: now, some people are inspired to attempt great things by their family or friends. others, though, are touched by strangers. that's exactly what happens in our next story. what began as an act of kindness for a complete stranger has now bonded two east bay men for life. the partnership is simple. one man plans to walk a great distance so the other can one day walk again. garvin: the pacific crest trail has its start in a small town just north of the mexican border. though for eugene yoon, his trek along the pct began somewhere much, much different. eugene yoon: the idea actually started with ellen degeneres. garvin: the end of ellen degeneres' show, to be exact. eugene: and she would always end those shows saying, "be kind to one another." ellen degeneres: see you tomorrow.
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be kind to one another. eugene: and i took that to heart and i said, "i want to live my life the way that these incredible human beings are doing." garvin: so, the 28-year-old from castro valley, who had heard of others who had hiked the pct, decided that would be his grand gesture of kindness, but for whose benefit? arthur renowitzky: and i want to let you guys know to never give up. garvin: well, it was just about that time eugene says stories about arthur renowitzky started showing up in his social media feeds. arthur, a subject of a "bay area proud" in 2014, was paralyzed by a robber's bullet 8 years ago. arthur: hi, what's your name? garvin: through his foundation, life goes on, arthur and his constant companion, love, counsel kids and visit newly paralyzed patients in the hospital, assuring them that life will indeed go on. eugene: i was inspired by him and all the incredible things that he was doing. and i said, "i want to do an act in the community like arthur would do." and then that's when i said, "you know what?
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i'm going to be that person for arthur." garvin: but just what could eugene do for arthur? well, help him walk again. eugene, you see, is hiking to raise $80,000 to purchase an exoskeleton for arthur, one that would help him once again stand and walk. arthur: oh, eugene is--i mean, he's an amazing guy. garvin: it was a pledge eugene had made before even meeting arthur in person, a pledge which, now that they have become close friends, means even more. eugene: there's no word to describe this feeling that i get, this feeling of knowing that, at the end of this process, someone as amazing and incredible as arthur would be able to walk again. garvin: eugene still has a few hundred miles and more than a few thousand dollars left to reach his goals. he says there is nothing, though, that will stop him from finishing what he started, and then likely getting
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started on what's next. eugene: you start with one person. you start within your own community. you start within your own reach. you start within your own family. you start wherever your influence is. garvin: coming up, bringing kids together from all different backgrounds. steve sparks: i think right now, we have kids from something like 13 different zip codes. garvin: how one east bay man was able to turn his love of adventure and soccer into an unforgettable summer for hundreds of kids. plus, they gave of themselves over and over again in order to give children who need it most a stable home. just how often did they foster children? the answer coming up. but first-- kim: i'm learning that there's just so many gifts when you push yourself. garvin: and push themselves they did. just how far they got in a first of its kind swim.
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because 100% whole grain oats are incredibly good for you. because they're heart healthy because they're good for kids. and granddads and everyone else in the family. everything we do is because of what really matters most. the goodness of oats and the people we love.
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unquestionably the crossing of the english channel. but is it the hardest? the channel has been crossed close to 3,000 times, but what two bay area swimmers are attempting to do has never been done before. and both simon dominguez and kim chambers have very good reasons for trying to make history. garvin: no matter how blue the sky above may be, it is a rare day in san francisco when one can clearly make out the farallon islands. still, what simon dominguez and kim chambers are cooking up is even rarer still because, well, it's never happened before. each are going to swim solo the 30 miles from the golden gate bridge to the farallon islands. if successful, simon will be the first-ever to do the swim east to west, and kim the first woman period. kim: i am drawn to adventure. i'm drawn to the unknown.
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and it's tremendously alluring and thrilling for me. garvin: while the two have been training together for months to reach this same goal, their paths to this point have been quite different. simon from australia was a competitive swimmer growing up. he thought it would be fun back in 2010 to try a marathon swim. five hours in the water, though, left him in agony. simon: so, i was in a lot of pain. you know, i couldn't move, but i was totally hooked. i thought, "this is the best thing ever. i love this sport." garvin: kim from new zealand did not have swimming in her background. competitive ballet was her thing. but 8 years ago, a horrific leg injury left kim almost unable to walk. male: all right, she's off, whoo hoo. garvin: she swam in a pool as part of her recovery, only taking this dip in the bay on a dare. her friends recorded it because they thought she would back out. kim: i got in and i was just like, "i can't believe i'm
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out here, can't believe i'm doing this." garvin: to say kim was hooked was an understatement. she has since conquered the oceans seven, the most challenging swims in the world, something only five other people have done. kim: i'm learning that there's just so many gifts when you push yourself. simon: i think this is something that not a lot of people in the world can do. i think--in my backyard, so if someone's going to do it, i think i should be the one to do it. garvin: while simon and kim love to play up their aussie-kiwi rivalry, they are partners in all this. both say they are not in competition with each other, they're in competition with themselves, with a place in the record books as their reward. garvin: well, simon was up first. and his swim was going great for the first 18 hours. then a great white shark showed up and took an interest in him. the pilot of simon's escort boat ordered him out of the water less than 4 miles from his destination.
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kim says she's sad for simon, but that won't keep her out of the water. coming up, giving summer camp a kick, how one east bay man is showing kids soccer is more than just a game of goals. but first-- dave mitchell: even when she was beat tired, worn out, she just absolutely blossomed with taking care of these kids. garvin: parenting even one child can be exhausting. how about 400? meet the couple who did just that.
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garvin: ask any parent and they'll tell you it takes a lot of love to raise a child. but what about 400 of them? well, there's only one couple in the bay area who can tell you about that, and that is dave and deana mitchell. garvin: at stone ridge creek in pleasanton, like most
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retirement communities, residents aren't allowed to have children living with them. it's something that suits dave and deanna mitchell just fine. now, it's not that the couple, who moved from danville recently, don't want kids living with their neighbors. they just frankly had to figure out a way to stop welcoming kids to live with them. deanna: i think that's true. we know physically and mentally, we probably needed to stop. okay, this is us when we got married. garvin: dave and deanna were married 57 years ago in rural missouri, and soon were a family of 4. but when their second child started first grade, deanna felt she had a little time and clearly a lot of love to give, which is how, with dave away on a business trip, three foster children were delivered to their door. deanna: he called me and i said, "you won't believe this." and he didn't. but that started it. dave: that began it. that was the beginning.
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garvin: what had started was more than 40 years of foster parenting, taking in--well, we'll let dave tell you how many foster children. dave: four hundred and thirty-one. garvin: just let that sink in for a bit. now, some were there just overnight, but others were there over the course of years. no matter what, deanna and dave gave each child the structure, the stability, and the caring that was often missing from his or her life. deanna: once the child walked into our home, they were not a foster child. i don't think we ever referred to them as foster children. they were our family. garvin: still, why go to so much trouble to build a family so big? deanna says she did it simply because god gave her the ability to. and dave supported her, not just because of the changes he saw in the children, but the changes he saw in deanna. dave: she just glowed.
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even when she was beat tired, worn out, she just absolutely blossomed with taking care of these kids. garvin: up next, a very different kind of summer camp for all kinds of kids. the one thing that makes a common soccer camp anything but. that story in 2 minutes. steve: and you're going to take the ball, okay? male: got one right here for him. ♪ i ride the highway... son begins to play) ♪ i'm going my way... ♪i leave a story untold... he just keeps sending more pictures... if you're a free-range chicken, you roam free. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. ♪ two wheels a turnin'...
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garvin: summer vacation means summer camp for lots of kids. but there's a camp in oakland that's different than the rest. it's free for one, but it's not just for low-income kids. and while it looks like a soccer camp, well, steve sparks says it's more of a language camp than a sports one, bringing together kids from all different backgrounds. garvin: steve sparks isn't the first to notice a similarity between a soccer ball and our world.
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there's the shape, of course, but there's also the knowledge that if you fill it with the right stuff, wonderful things can happen, just like they did for steve. steve: because i finally felt like i got to do my passion. garvin: steve's passion for soccer has been with him ever since he was a little boy growing up in the poorest quarter of kingston, jamaica. even as an adult, though, living in the united states, steve's world revolved around soccer. he took advantage of a job in the airline industry to travel to the world's soccer hotspots, bonding with other fans. even if they didn't speak each other's first language, there was always their second to fall back on. steve: from spain to france, and the language, common language i had was soccer. garvin: in fact, coming home from the 2006 world cup in germany, steve was so moved by the ability of the sport to bring people of different backgrounds together, he decided to start a camp back home dedicated to that idea.
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steve: on my way back on the 11-hour flight coming from frankfurt, i sat there and just started scribbling and said, "i'm going to do this." steve: work on this first, then you can do--see? garvin: my yute soccer is now in its seventh year. the weeklong camp held at oakland's technical high school is completely free for players, but it's not just for low-income kids. that would defeat the purpose, steve says. steve: i think right now, we have kids from something like 13 different zip codes. steve: you want to be in the group? garvin: he wants kids from all types of backgrounds to interact with each other in a way they otherwise wouldn't. male: okay, so we're going to play another game today. garvin: steve's team of experienced volunteer coaches reflect the one world nature of this camp, perhaps giving a bunch of kids from the east bay a passion they might carry with them for the rest of their lives. steve: i remember the difference it made for me. and we might have 80 kids in camp. and if five or ten of those kids come back later on and said it's
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impacted them or whatever it may be, that's filling for me. male: one, two, three. garvin: thanks again for joining us for this "bay area proud" special. you can see new "bay area proud" stories every tuesday and thursday evenings in our 5 p.m. newscast, and all of the reports are on our website. just go to and scroll down to the "bay area proud" segment. and if you wonder where we get these stories, well, we get them from people like you, our viewers. if you know someone who should be featured in our "bay area proud" segment, i'd love to hear from you. go to our website and you can find links to my facebook, twitter, or way to get in touch with me via email. have a great night. [music]
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